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Astronomers identify mysterious 'burper'

Radio wave burst from unknown object

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US astronomers reckon they may have identified a previously unknown type of space object after recording an unusual and potent burst of radio waves from the centre of our galaxy.

Scientists have nicknamed object GCRT J1745-3009 a "burper", Reuters reports. Lead boffin Scott Hyman explained: "An image of the Galactic center, made by collecting radio waves of about 1 meter (3 feet) in wavelength, revealed multiple bursts from the source during a seven-hour period from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 2002 - five bursts in fact, and repeating at remarkably constant intervals."

The mystery object is estimated to lie between 300 and 24,000 light-years from Earth. Astronomers say GCRT J1745-3009 cannot be a pulsar, but could be a brown dwarf or magnetar - an "exotic star with an extremely powerful magnetic field". It was discovered following analysis of data collected by the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico. ®

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